Hedda Gabler is a play that new Artistic Director Miyata Keiko has had on both the front and back burner for years. It will be the opening production of her first season as Artistic Director. Miyata is working on a new translation from the original Norwegian of what is considered by many to be the most modern of Ibsen's plays.
By coincidence, the complete works (definitive editions) of Ibsen were published in Norway in December 2009. The definitive edition is being studied in the process of developing the script for our fall production, and our hope is to present the play afresh as a modern Hedda Gabler.
Hedda Gabler was published in December 1890 (released simultaneously in Scandinavia, France, Great Britain, America, Russia and the Netherlands), and was first performed at Munich's Residenztheater in January the following year. Then in February it premiered in Norway at the Christiania Theatre. Since then, it has been performed in countries worldwide.
Hedda Gabler is a general's daughter who looks to be living a freewheeling life of luxury, but who at the same time harbors feelings of unease, discontent, and an unspeakable impatience. The play offers insight into differences in cultural background, through her interaction with the other main characters: Ejlert Løvborg, a brilliant scholar of cultural history; her husband, Jørgen Tesman; and Judge Brack. The characters' approach to life and the relationships among them make this a work that resonates strongly with us today, living as we do in a society that is tending toward increased self-centeredness and reclusiveness.
General Gabler's daughter Hedda is a proud woman possessed of beauty and charm. Jørgen Tesman, a researcher specializing in cultural history, marries Hedda after a determined courtship. The play opens as the couple has just returned from a six-month honeymoon. At just this time, an old rival of Tesman named Ejlert Løvborg comes to town. Løvborg has just finished writing a book with the help of Thea Elvsted, an old friend of Hedda. Tesman praises Løvborg's brilliance; Hedda finds their relationship somehow irritating. One day, Løvborg loses his manuscript. Tesman finds it and brings it home, but Hedda keeps this fact from Løvborg and burns the manuscript. In despair, Løvborg commits suicide with a pistol provided by Hedda. Judge Brack, a friend of Tesman and Hedda, knows that the gun used was one belonging to General Gabler. He has ideas of using this knowledge to blackmail Hedda.
Meanwhile, Tesman and Mrs. Elvsted work together to reconstruct Løvborg's manuscript using notes he has left behind. Hedda sees the fullness of the lives of her family and friends, and tragically takes her own life.